Fri, 04 May 2001

Trawler hijacked, captain murdered

JAKARTA (JP): After floating for two days without clear direction, a plundered trawler was finally guided into Sunda Kelapa Port in North Jakarta on Thursday morning, with the dead captain found frozen.

The bloodied body of the 50-year-old fishing trawler captain, Talima Manau, was found lying in the freezer of the trawler, KM Sumber Rejeki, according to Sunda Kelapa Police subprecinct chief Comr. Arbain.

"Sunda Kelapa Police were shocked when we received reports from seaport officers that the trawler captain was found dead on the trawler... and that the captain had been shot to death," Arbain said.

He added that eight other crew members of the fishing ship were saved, but some of them sustained minor injuries.

The trawler arrived at Sunda Kelapa Port at about 9:15 a.m. The marine vessel was guided in by another ship that found the floating trawler adrift on the Java Sea.

Arbain added that Talima was reportedly killed during an armed robbery while the fishing vessel was catching fish in waters off South Sumatra.

"The crew had caught enough fish and were heading for Lampung to sell their catch. Suddenly, at about 2 a.m. on Tuesday, 10 men, who had reportedly arrived in a motorboat, took over the KM Sumber Rezeki by surprise in Sumatran waters," Arbain said.

Sobat Harid, a crew member, said Talima had tried to defend his crew members and fight off the pirates but they were very professional and easily overpowered him.

"We did not dare to fight the pirates. They were all carrying guns and other sharp weapons. They slashed Talima with a machete before shooting him and dumping his body in the trawler's freezer. Talima did not die immediately," Sobat told The Jakarta Post at Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital morgue.

Sobat made the statements before he took Talima's body home to his distraught family in Penjaringan, North Jakarta.

Talima's wife, Sri, who was present at the morgue, failed to answer any questions, as she was continuously crying.

She just managed to say that Talima had left behind three children, who were all still at school.

Sobat said that the pirates stripped the ship of its navigation equipment including a compass, communication equipment, the catch, and Rp 400,000 (US$36).

"They then left us, and escaped in a motorboat," Sobat said.

Comr. Arbain added that without a compass and radio equipment to communicate with any seaport official, the trawler's crew members were lost.

"The trawler had been floating in Sumatran waters for about two days," Arbain said.

Sobat said that the trawler, which could accommodate a catch of up to 60 tons, was finally helped and steered by another ship, to Sunda Kelapa Port in North Jakarta. (ylt/01)